14-day quarantine unsustainable for the economy

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is concerned that the current 14-day quarantine period for Covid-19 positive cases and their contacts is unsustainable. The government should reduce isolation to 10 days, and to 7 days for fully vaccinated contacts.

The Chamber believes that this will motivate more people to take their booster and encourage higher compliance with quarantine periods, at a time when testing, contact tracing and enforcement are stretched to the limits.

As things stand, there is a real risk that businesses providing essential services will be unable to operate uninterruptedly. Companies that cannot shift to remote working, such as manufacturing will run into serious disruptions that will further compromise supply chains. Supermarkets, essential retail and the tourism sector will also be adversely affected.

Last Monday US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement recommending that the quarantine period should be shortened from 10 days to 5 days for those who do not have any Covid-19 related symptoms. In addition, several other countries have already proceeded to reduce the quarantine period.

Also, The Malta Chamber believes that employers need more clarity and support on mandating vaccines for employees who have customer contact or who are in contact with several other employees in the execution of their job.

Specifically, people who are fully vaccinated are significantly less likely to be seriously sick and less likely to spread the virus. Therefore, those who are refusing to be vaccinated are exposing their workplace to higher risk. Employers need to be supported in mandating vaccines on the basis of a risk assessment.

Malta Chamber And EY Malta Continue To Strengthen Their Ties

EY Malta have once again renewed their Gold Partnership Support Agreement with The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry.

Through their extensive experience, EY Malta will be providing consultancy services to support the Chamber in the formulation of national policy-making positions and recommendations in a number of fields covered by the Chamber’s Business Sections and Horizontal Thematic committees.

“As Malta’s leading business representative body, we are honoured to be supporting EY Malta and its flagship event; Future Realised,” said Marisa Xuereb, President of the Malta Chamber.

Ms Xuereb added that, “Through this partnership, the Malta Chamber aims to provide more value to its members by collecting and disseminating invaluable information about the business community and its opinion on Malta’s attractiveness, investment aspirations and needs.”

Chris Naudi, EY Malta Partner and Head of Markets, said “We are delighted to further strengthen our strong relationship with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry. The work we have carried out over the years for the Chamber on various financial and economic matters has greatly benefitted the local business community and we want nothing more than to see its continued success, especially as we must navigate this crucial next phase of the global pandemic.”


“We also look forward to another year collaborating on our national annual event, Future Realised, which serves as a check-point for the island and brings to fruition many great ideas on sustainability, technology, human capital and other key topics, which will take place next October,” said Mr Naudi.

The Malta Chamber is honoured with the trust EY Malta is showing through this agreement and looks forward to continue building on the strong relationship the parties enjoy for years.

The agreement was signed by President Ms Marisa Xuereb and Deputy President Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo on behalf of the Malta Chamber and Mr Christopher Naudi, Partner and Head of Markets on behalf of EY Malta.

Over 70 meetings held during TradeMalta business delegation to Expo 2020 Dubai

The business delegation to Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE held between the 12th and 17th December during the Knowledge and Learning Week, was hailed as a success by participants and organisers.

Over 70 Meetings scheduled by the TradeMalta office in Dubai were held in Dubai City Center and also in other inter cities.

The delegation, which included public and private institutions from the education and training sector, visited the Malta Pavillion and participated in numerous networking sessions held at Expo 2020 Serbia, SlovakiaExpo2020, and Portugal Expo 2020, with the participation of businesses from the respective countries, as well as from Colombia Expo Dubai 2020 and the Brazil Pavilion.

The delegation also took part in an Education and Business Forum hosted by SlovakiaExpo2020, with the participation of other education institutions and stakeholders from Mexico Expo 2020, Slovenia at Expo, Morocco Expo 2020 Dubai, and the UAE Pavilion.

Furthermore, the delegation participated in other sessions and networking events organised by Expo 2020 Russia, and Expo 2020 Argentina.

TradeMalta’s next Business Mission to the UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai will take place from the 13th to the 18th February 2022. For more information click here or send an email to info@trademalta.org.

HSBC Malta tops Euromoney Cash Management Survey 2021

The Euromoney Cash Management Survey recognises the leading providers of cash management products and services through the receipt of responses from leading cash managers, treasurers and financial officers worldwide, and is considered the benchmark survey for the global cash management industry.

Joyce Grech, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC Malta, said:

“These awards represent a recognition of the efforts that we put into continually improving the cash management services on offer to our customers every day. Providing leading transaction banking services to the Malta market remains a key strategic priority for HSBC Malta. Just as our clients are adapting in an ever-evolving world, we will continue to provide a world of opportunity to our customers through the range of transaction banking services that we offer. We are very grateful to our customers who voted for us in these prestigious categories and we look forward to continuing to support their local and international banking needs as we grow safely together. I would also like to congratulate our teams and colleagues on this fantastic achievement.”

Monique Gilmour, Head of Global Liquidity and Cash Management at HSBC Bank Malta, said:

“We continuously monitor and reflect on our performance to identify areas of improvement. This mindset, which is adopted by each HSBC employee, enables us to progressively fine-tune our products and services, offering the best possible cash management capabilities to our clients. These recent accolades offer an acknowledgement to our teams who continuously strive to deliver the best services to our partners and clients. A hearfelt thank you for all their hard work.”

HSBC Group, in the corporate category, was named Market Leader and Best for Service globally, in the Middle East and North America regions.

Furthermore, HSBC Group was named Market Leader in Asia-Pacific and won Best for Service in Central and Eastern Europe, France, Japan, Netherlands, Taiwan SAR and Thailand.

In the financial institutions category, the Group was named Market Leader Globally, as well as for US Dollar, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar, Renminbi, and Sterling.

HSBC Group was named Market Leader Regionally in Asia-Pacific for US Dollar and Renminbi, and in Western Europe for all currencies. In addition, the Group won the Global Best Service award for all currencies together with Best Overall Service for financial facilities, personnel, service and tech provisions.

HSBC Group was also named Best Service Provider overall for US Dollar and Hong Kong Dollar.

Jeopardising EU funding for Malta’s energy transition is a dangerous game

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry appeals for caution and to keep in mind the national interest in matters related to energy provision.

It is therefore imperative that we find ways of addressing concerns related to the existing agreements independently of proposed projects that could provide us with more options for energy generation in future. For the benefit of our country and the business community, no one should try to jeopardize EU funding for Malta’s energy transition.

The green transition, which the EU including Malta is committed to, will require countries to be very careful with managing their energy supply options to minimise the risk of spikes in energy prices. If this is not maintained, it will hurt the competitiveness of European businesses and provoke social unrest. The decarbonisation of transport, which is a priority for Malta, requires an accelerated process of electrification of vehicles that will increase energy demands by 30-50%. While solar, wave power and wind energy are renewable sources that Malta can tap into, one has to keep in mind that these are also inconsistent energy sources by their very nature. In the absence of high-volume energy storage technologies, which do not exist and do not seem to be within reach in the foreseeable future, renewable sources need to be complemented by on-demand energy sources. The only such carbon-neutral source is nuclear energy, which most EU countries have never invested in or voted out. The next cleanest on-demand energy source is gas. Even the production of hydrogen itself is energy intensive. So while this fuel holds promise for the decarbonisation of large vehicles, ships and aeroplanes, energy generation and the pace at which viable alternative technologies will develop, remains a key challenge for the green transition.

In view of this, it is imperative for Malta to have a gas pipeline in place by 2028 when the current 10-year agreement for the supply of gas expires. Irrespective of the requirements of the existing energy and fuel supply agreements, which should of course be questioned on their own merits, we cannot risk putting in danger the country’s energy supply for the future. The possibility of converting the proposed gas pipeline into a hydrogen pipeline, improves the long-term viability of the project. It is a fact that we have one main energy provider and we do not have the luxury of making subjective assessments on the shareholders of our energy provider before deciding whether to switch the light on or off. At this stage Malta needs to have its second interconnector by 2025 while continuing to invest on renewable energy so as to reach its decarbonisation targets.

Rachel Attard joins The Malta Chamber as its Media & Communication Strategist

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is pleased to announce that Rachel Attard will be taking on the role of Media and Communication Strategist at The Malta Chamber.

More recently she continued to excel in media advisory roles with various private and public entities of national importance.

Rachel Attard said, “I am looking forward to this new challenge with drive, enthusiasm and a sense of mission. The Chamber is a key contributor to this country’s socioeconomic well-being and vision, and it is humbling to be part of its great team.”

Keith Demicoli, who joined the Chamber earlier this year in a Communications role, will continue to produce and present ‘L-Intrapriza’, the Chamber’s weekly TV programme together with Malta Enterprise.

Mr Demicoli said “Coming to the Chamber after 13 years as a news reporter and anchor with PBS was a major shift that took a lot of courage. I am glad that I made the move because it emboldened me to be able to take on further challenges independently.”

Chamber President Marisa Xuereb welcomed Rachel Attard to the team and stated that “The Chamber continues to attract some of the most talented doers on the island, both amongst its membership ranks as well as in terms of professionals who are eager to contribute to the Chamber’s success in one capacity or another. On this solid foundation, we are able to give more value to our members and the Chamber is even more empowered to continue being the leading voice of business.”

Dr Marthese Portelli, the Chamber’s CEO added: “I am convinced that having Rachel on board will help us increase the impetus we seeded this year to make The Malta Chamber more modern, relevant and effective.”

Ms Xuereb and Dr Portelli thanked Keith Demicoli for his service to The Malta Chamber and commended his efforts in promoting its work.

Training and Education delegation to Expo 2020 and UAE

The delegation, which includes representatives from enterprises in the Training and Education sector, is visiting the Expo 2020 during the Knowledge and Learning Week.

During this week, the delegation will visit the Malta Pavilion at EXPO 2020 which is situated in the Opportunity District. A number of seminars will be held on the Malta Pavilion to promote the training and education sector in Malta whilst a number of visits to other international pavilions have already been set in an effort to enhance networking opportunities and explore openings for cooperation.

TradeMalta has also set up meetings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the visiting delegation such that delegates have two days of meetings on the Expo grounds followed by two days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Twelve private colleges and six government entities will be joining this mission following an expression of interest issued by TradeMalta.

Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo ever to be hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Through the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, Dubai aims for EXPO 2020 to showcase the best examples of collaboration, innovation and cooperation from around the world.

Organisers are targeting 25 million visitors and it is expected that over 200 participants including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses and educational institutions will be taking part. Participants chose to be in one of the three districts, Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity – with Malta being situated in the latter.

A total of ten ‘theme weeks’ will be taking place throughout the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai. The selected themes seek to address the critical challenges and opportunities faced collectively by countries and citizens worldwide, from a cultural, social, environmental and economic perspective.

The Malta Chamber cautiously welcomes Government’s Tourism strategy

“The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry’s Tourism Operators Business Section is pleased to note that the Government’s strategy launched last Thursday is very strongly aligned to The Chamber’s tourism vision which was also launched three weeks ago and captures very broadly the challenges and opportunities facing the local tourism industry today,” said Mr Alan Arrigo, Chairperson of the Tourism Operators Business Section.

The Malta Chamber’s document titled “Rediscover – A New Vision For The Tourism Industry In Malta ”, compiled in collaboration with Seed, insists on a quality-based approach and calls for focus on eight (8) key themes:

1. Branding & Marketing
2. Digital & Innovation
3. Accommodation
4. Sectoral Infrastructure
5. Culture & Identity
6. Governance & Institutions
7. Human Capital
8. Connectivity

Certain recommendations proposed in the Government’s strategy document are in line with The Malta Chamber’s vision. These positive recommendations include:

• the point that The Malta Chamber has made repeatedly on the basis that the current supply of bed stock, both operational and in the pipeline, is outstripping the number of tourists that can be expected during the nine years of this Strategy,

• noting The Malta Chamber’s point on the importance of digitalisation as one of the prime drivers in tourism which is partially reflected in Government’s strategy document on promoting the use of data and market intelligence as critical tools to rethink the tourist value chain, and

• acknowledging The Malta Chamber’s preposition on focusing on the importance of the island’s niche markets and how these can be used to access the full potential of what the market has to offer.

The Malta Chamber lists several concrete action points aimed at supporting established and new segments – MICE, sports, medical, arts and gastronomy niches to name a few. However, while the Government’s strategy document takes note of their importance, it falls short of proposing concrete actions.

On the other hand, The Malta Chamber insists that the MTA should reposition itself as an industry enabler and as a regulator which enforces licensing standards and promotes best practices, as opposed to its current status as a competitor with the private sector.

CEO of The Malta Chamber, Dr Marthese Portelli stated, “Whilst acknowledging that overall, the strategy is a positive one, The Malta Chamber reminds Government that the devil is in the detail and it ultimately all depends on the implementation. The Malta Chamber remains committed in its pursuit to help the relevant authorities to see this vision moving from words into tangible actions.”

Malta Chamber and HSBC Malta discuss post-covid outlook

HSBC Bank Malta and The Malta Chamber recently organised a webinar titled ‘The Post-Covid Outlook’, which investigated global economic and financial trends in light of the pandemic. The event was the latest in a series of joint events designed to help Chamber members navigate the current economic scenario.

The webinar examined how the pandemic has impacted every aspect of business and the different strategies adopted around the world to mitigate its impact. The event also looked at the fact that, while uncertainties still exist, the progress of the global economy and the increasing vaccination rates offer a silver lining.

Marisa Xuereb, President at The Malta Chamber, said: “These are some of the most interesting and challenging times in recent history. During the pandemic we witnessed one of the deepest recessions, followed by one of the quickest recoveries. As businesses try to navigate this environment and plan for the future, The Malta Chamber, supported by HSBC Malta, will continue to offer support and practical insights”

James Pomeroy, Global Economist at HSBC in London, said: “These are interesting times for the global economy. As vaccination rates are growing, we can try and live with the virus. We need to keep an eye on restrictions. Any further business closures may result in a significant setback to economic activity.

Households have accumulated money, and they are spending it, which supports economic growth. Growing retail sales are, however, creating supply chain bottlenecks. The tighter labour markets we are experiencing are giving bargaining power to job seekers, which will drive wages higher. All in all, while it is still relatively early for a certain global outlook, we expect growth to be solid enough over the next couple of years.”

Daragh Maher, Head of Research Americas at HSBC, said: “From a currency perspective, the US Dollar is likely to gradually strengthen, driven by the deceleration in global growth and the FED’s policy relative to many other major central banks. The contrast in the outlook for US policy is particularly evident when compared to the ECB, and points to further downward pressure on the Euro Dollar rate through 2022. From an interest rate and external balance point of view, the British Pound Sterling currently is a vulnerable currency.”